Clearing Space for Creativity
By Satya Robyn from Malvern
We all need to have a creative outlet - a window, a space - so we don’t lose track of ourselves. ~ Norman Fischer
Gardening, baking, drawing, dancing, writing, taking photos of the Malvern Hills… Do you have any creative hobbies? Have you been thinking of taking up something creative? Do you give yourself enough time to be creative?
Like most people I have lots of responsibilities in addition to being a writer. Sometimes I find it difficult to find the time to focus on my writing. Whenever I feel short of time, the writing seems to be the first thing to go.
Something I’ve learnt over the years is how important it is to clear space for my writing. There’s always a huge list of ‘things to do’, threatening to push it out. My writing has only survived because I’ve learnt to fiercely protect it.
If you also struggle with dedicating time to creativity, the following ideas will help you look at how you can clear space for yourself.
One: Make a commitment - Before you go any further, think about why you want to clear space in the first place. How serious are you about your art? What does it give you? What are your goals? How much energy can you invest?
If decided that it is important to you, then now is the time to make a formal commitment. You might want to have some fun with this and see it as a marriage – decide that you’re going to stick with your creativity in sickness and in health. Make this commitment public if you can – let your friends and family know how serious you are, start speaking about your creative work with pride. Honour your art and the artist in yourself.
Two: Feed yourself - My own muse is needing plenty of feeding. This is an ongoing process and it needs different types of food depending on where I am in the process. Some of this food is immersing myself in other writer’s work, exploring different art forms (seeing good films, going to exhibitions), spending time alone with nature, speaking with writer colleagues, attending writing festivals and writing a regular journal.
Write your own list and dedicate some time each week to feeding your artist. If you do this, ideas will start appearing like tiny green shoots. Make sure you have a notebook handy at all times so you can jot/sketch these ideas down and use them in your work.
Three: Turn up at the page - Here’s the important bit! I’m borrowing this phrase from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artists Way. She encourages artists to ‘turn up at the page’. It’s not enough that you work ‘when inspiration strikes’ – you need to be able to sit down and get on with it whether you’re in the mood or not.
Practise this by booking time into your diary – start with ten minutes or half an hour. Spend this time on your art without fail. If you can’t get into your painting, then read what someone else thought about painting instead. If you can’t concentrate on the reading, then go for a walk and think about what you’re stuck on. Practise becoming disciplined.
Four: Get supported - Being creative can be lonely, especially if your art involves you working by yourself. I’ve found that a support network is extremely important to keep me going. It can also be an important source of feedback.
There are lots of different places to find your support network. There are often local classes or groups for writing, painting etc. The internet can be a fantastic resource. Or ask your friends if they know any artists, get in touch and ask them out for a coffee. Accept ang give help.
Satya Robyn is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Malvern, a novelist and a Buddhist priest. She also runs a mindful writing company with her husband - find out more at www.writingourwayhome.com